A Royal Affair movie poster
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A Royal Affair movie poster

A Royal Affair Movie Review

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Note to guys: if you are literally insane, your hot and neglected wife will cheat on you with a doctor. Such is the case in A Royal Affair, a romantic and engaging drama that deservedly earned an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Picture.

Alicia Vikander stars as Caroline Mathilde, who at a young age becomes the Queen of Denmark. Awesome, right? Unfortunately her husband is Christian VII (Mikkel Boe Folsgaard) is a certified lunatic who likes drinking, big breasts and dogs. So, naturally, Alicia finds solace in the king's personal doctor and confidante Johann Friedrich Struensee (Mads Mikkelsen, best known to American audiences as the bad guy in Casino Royale). He's great in bed, cares about her and, most importantly, isn't woot-woot bonkers.

Some women are just so damned picky.

A Royal Affair draws you in with the intriguing dynamic between Caroline and Christian, and that's only the beginning. Co-writers Rasmus Heisterberg and director Nikolaj Arcel, who also wrote the original 2009 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, lock you in as the relationship between Caroline and Johann unfolds. But leaving the movie as a romantic drama just wasn't enough. Yet another layer is added - involving political intrigue and maneuvering - that makes A Royal Affair a deliciously complex tale.

Seduction, sex, love, backstabbing. Insanity. What's not to enjoy?

All three stars deliver strong performances and Vikander and Mikkelsen have good chemistry together. The movie looks great, too, even though Arcel does little to set things apart from other costume dramas of the past. The result stands in stark contrast to that of 2012's other costume drama Anna Karenina, (Vikander also had a major role in that movie, too), where director Joe Wright's attempt to inject energy into the subgenre through shifting sets and camera tricks ultimately failed. A Royal Affair proves that with the right screenplay and actors, costume dramas can still be relevant and fascinating to watch.

A Royal Affair is an alluring, romantic and entertaining drama that defies its genre and proves at least one thing: women will opt for the doctor over an insane king any day of the week.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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